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New Bible seeks to connect modern and ancient Israel

Rabbi Tuly Weisz with stacks of The Israel Bible, which he edited. Photo courtesy of Israel365

JERUSALEM (RNS) – A new Hebrew-English Bible with a distinctly Israeli flavor will be published in honor of Israel’s 70th anniversary.

The anniversary begins at sundown Wednesday (April 18) and ends at sundown the next day.

The Israel Bible “is the world’s first Bible centered around the Land of Israel, the People of Israel and the unique relationship between them,” according to Israel365, the organization that produced it in conjunction with Menorah Books, a division of Koren Publishers Jerusalem.

Israel365 teaches Christians about the biblical significance of the land of Israel and the Jewish people’s connection to the land, based on the text of the 24 books that constitute the Tanakh, the Hebrew name for the Bible, and what Christians call the Old Testament.

The group’s newsletter is read by 300,000 subscribers, the majority of them evangelical Christians — among the strongest supporters of Israel.

The Israel Bible. Image courtesy of Menorah Books

Maayan Hoffman, vice president of marketing and brand strategy at Israel365, wrote in The Jerusalem Post that the aim of the new Bible is “to convince a divided Jewish people, Christian Zionists and what sometimes seems like an anti-Israel world that Israel belongs to the Jewish people.”

The founding of Israel, which became a refuge for Jews after the Holocaust, in which one-third of the world’s Jewish population was murdered, is called the Nakba (“catastrophe” in Arabic) by many Palestinians and others who question Jews’ right to what was once part of the biblical land of Israel.

Written by Orthodox rabbis and scholars, The Israel Bible’s commentary ties the history of the Jewish people to modern-day Israel.

In Jeremiah 4:6, for example, a sentry instructs the Israelites to “set up a signpost” to direct those fleeing from invaders in the North to Jerusalem; The Israel Bible’s commentary relates how, in 1891, a man named Michael Halperin gathered a group of people in central Israel and unfurled a blue and white flag emblazoned with the words “nes Tziona.”

“This location became the modern-day city of Nes Tziona, and Halperin’s banner became the model for the future Israeli flag,” the Bible notes.

Although The Israel Bible was created largely with non-Jews in mind, Rabbi Tuly Weisz, its editor, emphasized that “there is nothing a Jewish reader would find questionable” in its text or presentation.

He said he hopes the Bible, which will be published in June, will foster greater understanding between Christians and Jews.

“For 2,000 years the Bible was the No. 1 source of division between Jews and Christians,” Weisz said. “My hope is that this Bible will become a source of unity between the two peoples.”

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Michele Chabin

11 Comments

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  • Uh-oh there goes the Oxymoron Detecting Machine crashing on me again, this time no sooner than when the words of the propaganda read:

    OXYMORON ONE: “A … Bible with a distinctly Israeli flavor will be published”!

    OXYMORON TWO: “The aim of the new Bible is ‘to convince … that Israel belongs to the Jewish people’ – never mind the “many Palestinians and others who question [the legal] right to … the biblical land”!

    OXYMORON THREE: “‘There is nothing … questionable’ in its text or presentation”!

  • All vitiated by the relatively new “New Torah for Modern Minds”:

    origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

    New Torah For Modern Minds

    “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation. ”

    (prob·a·bly
    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

  • Actually, translating the Bible to make a particular point is nothing new. I suspect most translators have a cultural or religious viewpoint that influences the way they translate the text. Those who translated the King James Version knew they had to please the king who authorized it, so when possible it emphasizes the divine right of kings. That does not diminish the Bible’s value, but it does mean the reader should be on the look out for bias that is not in the original text.

  • Believing that the land occupied by the state of Israel belongs to descendants of the ancient tribe Israel is as ridiculous as believing that the land occupied by Sioux City belongs to descendants of the ancient tribe Sioux.

  • “Nothing a Jewish reader would find questionable. ” tells me they screwed up the translation like the Jewish Publishing Society does with their Tanakh to purposely remove the Christological verses by not translating those verses properly.

  • There are any number of good books that will do this. Start with Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why written by Bart D. Ehrman. It is a popularized version of any number of text books.

  • I thought you knew a specific KJV verse or two to support your claim but obviously you don’t.

  • Making the case here is impractical. If you don’t respect the scholarship of Dr. Ehrman, a Moody, Weaton, and Princton grad, there are plenty of good books on the history of the Bible. It’s a fascinating story. Just for fun Wiki “Bible gloss”. It explains how additional stuff and pious bias worked its way into the Bible text.

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